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Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)

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Haunted by painful memories and increasing paranoia, a damaged woman struggles to re-assimilate with her family after fleeing an abusive cult.


Sean Durkin


Sean Durkin
3,403 ( 251)

Elizabeth Olsen Through the Years

Take a look back at Elizabeth Olsen's movie and TV career in photos.

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22 wins & 70 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Elizabeth Olsen ... Martha
Christopher Abbott ... Max
Brady Corbet ... Watts
Hugh Dancy ... Ted
Maria Dizzia ... Katie
Julia Garner ... Sarah
John Hawkes ... Patrick
Louisa Krause ... Zoe
Sarah Paulson ... Lucy
Adam David Thompson ... Bartender (as Adam Thompson)
Allen McCullough ... Man in Home #2
Lauren Molina ... Cult Member
Louisa Braden Johnson Louisa Braden Johnson ... Cult Member
Tobias Segal ... Cult Member
Gregg Burton Gregg Burton ... Man in Home #1


Martha has run away from an abusive hippie-like cult where she was living as Marcy May for two years. She turns to her sister and brother-in-law who take her in and want to help her. The problem is Martha is having a hard time separating dreams from reality and when haunting memories of her past keep resurfacing, she may need more help than anyone is able to give her. Written by napierslogs

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing violent and sexual content, nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

21 December 2011 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

La fuga di Martha See more »

Filming Locations:

Livingston Manor, New York, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$137,651, 23 October 2011, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,981,638, 5 February 2012
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS | Datasat



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Elizabeth Olsen and Sarah Paulson invented together some background for the sisters' relationship. So every scene when they talked about their past, although it's vague on the script and for the viewer, Olsen and Paulson knew exactly what Martha and Lucy are talking about. See more »


During Martha's breakdown in the party scene, the bow on her white dress is hanging loose when she is being corralled into the bedroom by Lucy and Ted. In the next shot, the bow is done up again. See more »


[first lines]
Watts: [as Martha runs away] Marcy! Marcy May! Where ya goin'?
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Referenced in Supernatural: Alex Annie Alexis Ann (2014) See more »


Written by Devon Anderson
Performed by Devon Anderson
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Beautiful cinematography and interesting performances by the supporting cast of this Sundance award winner make it worth a couple of hours of your time.
7 February 2011 | by cjkirk6See all my reviews

Elizabeth Olsen is surprisingly dour and convincing as the main character - Martha/Marcy May/Marlene Lewis. When I read that she was the sister of the Olsen twins I wasn't sure what to expect - but she displayed none of the saccharine characteristics of Mary Kate and Ashley. She is striking-looking - perhaps this is enhanced by the beautiful cinematography of this movie. John Hawkes, as Patrick, the leader of the cult family, is great. Creepy and bizarre - he makes you cringe but you can't take your eyes off him. Louisa Krause, who played the freaked-out high school prostitute in The Babysitters, is also fun to watch as Zoe, the seeming Godsend of a friend to Martha/Marcy May in the cult family, but who is actually just as creepy as Patrick. The discomfort that Martha brings to Lucy and Ted (Sarah Paulson and Hugh Dancy) - the real-family sister and brother-in-law - is palpable, even if it is what makes the story kind of a bummer overall. The dense forests, fertile farmland, and beautiful lake are characters themselves. Martha's connection with them brings her otherwise ethereal (or maybe just spaced out or tweaked-by-something unknown) character to earth - for me it made her someone I could like and feel sympathy for, even when her relationship with Patrick and Zoe inspired not much.

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